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Abstract

Near-death experiences are profound subjective events frequently reported by individuals who have come close to death. They are of importance to mental health professionals, not only because they often happen to patients under our care, but because they have been reported to produce widespread and long-lasting changes in values, beliefs, and behavior that dramatically affect the experiencers' attitudes toward living and dying (Bates and Stanley 1985; Bauer 1985; Flynn 1982; Greyson 1983b; Noyes 1980; Ring 1984). Several studies, including surveys of recently resuscitated hospitalized patients (Ring 1980; Sabom 1982) and a nationwide poll of the general population (Gallup and Proctor 1982) have estimated that near-death experiences are reported by 30%-40% of individuals who come close to death, or about 5% of the adult American population.
... Regardless of these considerations, both our analysis and the recent work by Timmermann and colleagues (Timmermann et al., 2018) established that DMT-induced experiences present a substantial overlap with NDEs, with especially strong associations between DMT-induced near-death type experiences and mystical-type experiences, and the feelings of "ego-dissolution", "unitive experience" and "oceanic feeling". This study also established associations between NDE-like DMT experiences and certain personality traits (this association with personality traits is also known in other types of NDE-like); in agreement with the observation that both NDEs and psychedelic experiences are highly dependent on contextual factors (Greyson, 1993;Nichols, 2016;Studerus, Gamma, Kometer, & Vollenweider, 2012). Our study established the similarity of both experiences by means of free narratives. ...
... Differences in NDE and ketamine-induced phenomenology have been noted, especially between the generally blissful nature of NDEs and the potential occurrence of ketamine "bad trips" (Fenwick, 1997;Strassman, 1997). This objection can be countered by noting that the blissful nature of NDEs may have been overestimated (Greyson & Bush, 1992), that contextual factors ("set and setting") play an important role in the emotional valence of NDEs and ketamine experiences (Greyson, 1993;Grinspoon & Bakalar, 1979) and finally noting that the subjective effects elicited by an endogenous NMDA antagonist do not need to exactly match those of ketamine (unless that antagonist is ketamine itself). In support of the ketamine model, it has been argued that subjects who experienced both NDEs and ketamine report a remarkable similarity between both experiences (Jansen, 1997a(Jansen, ,1997b; however, lacking proper quantification, it is difficult not to dismiss this evidence as anecdotal (Strassman, 1997). ...
... Also, it could be argued that elderly individuals are more likely to experience health problems leading to NDEs, and that feelings of aversion towards death could result in the prolonged competition for resources with individuals who have more potential to reproduce. Furthermore, NDE-dissociative episodes might mitigate PTSD symptoms linked to other dissociative experiences (Greyson, 2001) and NDE experiencers seem to endorse more anti-suicidal attitudes as compared to non-NDE experiencers who have come close to death (Greyson, 1993), thus adding support to the potential adaptive value of these experiences. In any case, drugs that mimic NDE phenomenology might also reduce death-related anxiety, suggesting a potential therapeutic use for the terminally ill. ...
... Value formation and change are dynamic processes with multiple components and mechanisms that allow policy engagement. An important insight for decision-makers is that targeting value-related outcomes (e.g., pro-environmental behaviour) (see 2. (Gailliot et al., 2008;Greyson, 1983Greyson, , 1993Joireman & Duell, 2005) (Manfredo et al., 2017). For example, rather than calls to transform established religious traditions (White, 1967), it can be more appropriate to reinforce values shared by world religions (e.g., reverence, respect, restraint, reciprocity, redistribution, responsibility and renewal) (Grim & Tucker, 2014). ...
... Concurrently, a group of psychologists including Maslow [52] and Tart [78] began to explore the domain of ASCs. Grof [26] and Pahnke [59] investigated ASCs with a focus on psychedelic substances like LSD and psilocybin, and since then, a large number of research findings have emerged relating to ASCs produced by hypnosis [33], sleep and dreaming [40,45], meditation [13,82], mystical and transcendent experiences [7,25], illness and injury [5], near-death experiences [24,39], and out-of-body experiences [8,18]. ...
Conference Paper
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There has been increasing interest shown in experiences such as lucid dreams, hallucinations, or awe that arise in HCI. Altered States of Consciousness (ASC) is the umbrella term for these experiences, yet it has been subject to fragmented study, and design knowledge to help individuals working on technology-driven ASCs is lacking. This paper investigates HCI studies involving ASC artefacts through a scoping review. The findings relate to (1) ASC induction methods, (2) ASC experiences through artefacts, (3) ASC artefacts, and (4) the technology of ASC artefacts. The returned literature shows that HCI studies have mainly explored psychologically induced ASCs, and XR technologies and embodied interaction are widely used in ASC research. Meanwhile, physical artefact design including active body movements and the integration of games and play approaches featured as prospective directions. These results will contribute to the knowledge of those studying and designing ASC artefacts.
... Changes in the "visionary restructuralization" dimension were most prominent, followed by "oceanic boundlessness" and "anxious ego dissolution" (Gouzoulis-Mayfrank et al., 2005). Interestingly, we found high scores for the "affective" component of the NDE questionnaire, in agreement with a recent related report (Timmermann et al., 2018), which is also a landmark feature of actual near-death experiences (Greyson et al., 1993). This result resonates with the proposal of endogenous DMT release when the brain undergoes severe stress (Strassman, 2000), even though this hypothesis has been severely criticized on the grounds of insufficient endogenous DMT concentration (Nichols, 2018). ...
Article
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Background: N,N-dimethyltryptamine is a short-acting psychedelic tryptamine found naturally in many plants and animals. Few studies to date have addressed the neural and psychological effects of N,N-dimethyltryptamine alone, either administered intravenously or inhaled in freebase form, and none have been conducted in natural settings. Aims: Our primary aim was to study the acute effects of inhaled N,N-dimethyltryptamine in natural settings, focusing on questions tuned to the advantages of conducting field research, including the effects of contextual factors (i.e. "set" and "setting"), the possibility of studying a comparatively large number of subjects, and the relaxed mental state of participants consuming N,N-dimethyltryptamine in familiar and comfortable settings. Methods: We combined state-of-the-art wireless electroencephalography with psychometric questionnaires to study the neural and subjective effects of naturalistic N,N-dimethyltryptamine use in 35 healthy and experienced participants. Results: We observed that N,N-dimethyltryptamine significantly decreased the power of alpha (8-12 Hz) oscillations throughout all scalp locations, while simultaneously increasing power of delta (1-4 Hz) and gamma (30-40 Hz) oscillations. Gamma power increases correlated with subjective reports indicative of some features of mystical-type experiences. N,N-dimethyltryptamine also increased global synchrony and metastability in the gamma band while decreasing those measures in the alpha band. Conclusions: Our results are consistent with previous studies of psychedelic action in the human brain, while at the same time the results suggest potential electroencephalography markers of mystical-type experiences in natural settings, thus highlighting the importance of investigating these compounds in the contexts where they are naturally consumed.
... These phenomenological experiences are commonly referred to as "near-death experience" (NDE). It has been assumed that these subjective experiences are psychological responses to trauma in order to cope with it, which benefits the individual at that time 6 . A few decades ago, the prevalence of NDEs seemed difficult to apprehend. ...
Article
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The neurobiological basis of near-death experiences (NDEs) is unknown, but a few studies attempted to investigate it by reproducing in laboratory settings phenomenological experiences that seem to closely resemble NDEs. So far, no study has induced NDE-like features via hypnotic modulation while simultaneously measuring changes in brain activity using high-density EEG. Five volunteers who previously had experienced a pleasant NDE were invited to re-experience the NDE memory and another pleasant autobiographical memory (dating to the same time period), in normal consciousness and with hypnosis. We compared the hypnosis-induced subjective experience with the one of the genuine experience memory. Continuous high-density EEG was recorded throughout. At a phenomenological level, we succeeded in recreating NDE-like features without any adverse effects. Absorption and dissociation levels were reported as higher during all hypnosis conditions as compared to normal consciousness conditions, suggesting that our hypnosis-based protocol increased the felt subjective experience in the recall of both memories. The recall of a NDE phenomenology was related to an increase of alpha activity in frontal and posterior regions. This study provides a proof-of-concept methodology for studying the phenomenon, enabling to prospectively explore the NDE-like features and associated EEG changes in controlled settings.
... The term meditation is often used in order to refer to placement meditation, and contemplation in order I have published articles following the classical scientifi c method [21][22][23][24], but from my childhood I was interested by the mind as space and laboratory. Thus, I began to try to research in these states of consciousness [25], what was achieved, and I noted, calculated, and repeated. I confi rmed it worked. ...
... I have published articles following the classical scientifi c method [21][22][23][24], but from my childhood I was interested by the mind as space and laboratory. Thus, I began to try to research in these states of consciousness [25], what was achieved, and I noted, calculated, and repeated. I confi rmed it worked. ...
... Likewise, I did with the scientifi c evidences provided by Drs. Gary Schwartz and Bruce Greyson [26][27][28][29][30][31], about what they call "consciousness". ...
... In fact, survey findings show that most NDEs have both features [74,23]. Based on a large survey of NDE survivors Greyson has argued that "Surrender to the process of dying and to the possibility of death is strongly associated with near-death experiences and their affective and transcendental components" [25]. ...
Article
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Near-death experiences (NDEs) have been described consistently since antiquity and more rigorously in recent years. Investigation into their mechanisms and effects has been impeded by the lack of quantitative measures of the NDE and its components. From an initial pool of 80 manifestations characteristic of NDEs, a 33-item scaled-response preliminary questionnaire was developed, which was completed by knowledgeable subjects describing their 74 NDEs. Items with significant item-total score correlations that could be grouped into clinically meaningful clusters constituted the final 16-item NDE Scale. The scale was found to have high internal consistency, split-half reliability, and test-retest reliability; was highly correlated with Ring's Weighted Core Experience Index; and differentiated those who unequivocally claimed to have had NDEs from those with qualified or questionable claims. This reliable, valid, and easily administered scale is clinically useful in differentiating NDEs from organic brain syndromes and nonspecific stress responses, and can standardize further research into mechanisms and effects of NDEs.
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Most reported near-death experiences include profound feelings of peace, joy, and cosmic unity. Less familiar are the reports following close brushes with death of experiences that are partially or entirely unpleasant, frightening, or frankly hellish. While little is known about the antecedents or aftereffects of these distressing experiences, there appear to be three distinct types, involving (1) phenomenology similar to peaceful near-death experiences but interpreted as unpleasant, (2) a sense of nonexistence or eternal void, or (3) graphic hellish landscapes and entities. While the first type may eventually convert to a typical peaceful experience, the relationship of all three types to prototypical near-death experiences merits further study. The effect of the distressing experience in the lives of individuals deserves exploration, as the psychological impact may be profound and long-lasting.
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Interviews with thirty-six persons who had been close to death as a result of a suicide attempt were conducted to determine whether such persons report Moody-type near-death experiences. Seventeen persons, or 47 per cent of the sample, related such experiences which were more common for men than women. Although suicide-related near-death experiences do not appear different from near-death experiences in general, three distinct patterns were found here. The findings are discussed with reference to the concept of ego-death and their therapeutic implications are explored.
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Explored the association between near-death experiences (NDEs) and subsequent attitude changes by administering a life attitude profile questionnaire assessing 7 categories of attitudes to 20 female and 8 male 31–75 yr olds who had had a self-defined NDE. The questionnaire was designed to determine (1) whether an individual is living as he/she desires, (2) whether the individual lacks meaning in his/her life, and (3) the strength of an individual's anticipation of a meaningful existence. Ss were asked to record their perception of their attitude toward each item of the questionnaire before and after the NDE. Findings indicate that with the exception of the category of goal seeking (a measure of restlessness), each category included a significantly greater number of Ss indicating positive changes since the NDE than negative changes or no change. Data support the hypothesis that a more positive attitude toward life results from an NDE. (10 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In a retrospective study contrasting the near-death encounters of 183 persons who reported near-death experiences and 63 persons who reported no near-death experience, the two groups did not differ in age, gender, or time elapsed since the near-death encounter. Near-death experiencers reported all 16 items of the NDE Scale significantly more often than did nonexperiencers.
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The medical records of 58 patients, most of whom believed they were near death during an illness or after an injury and all of whom later remembered unusual experiences occurring at the time, were examined. 28 patients were judged to have been so close to death that they would have died without medical intervention; the other 30 patients were not in danger of dying although most of them thought they were. Patients of both groups reported closely similar experiences but patients who really were close to death were more likely than those who were not to report an enhanced perception of light and enhanced cognitive powers. The claim of enhancement of cognitive functions despite the likelihood that brain function had probably become disturbed and possibly diminished, deserves further investigation.
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This paper considers the generally consistent description of the common elements involved in near-death experiences (NDEs). It is suggested that the framework for studying a new psychiatric syndrome provides a context within which NDEs can be articulated both for research and for the practice of mental health professionals.